Slipping Through the Cracks: How the D.C. Navy Yard Shooting Exposes Flaws in the Federal Security Clearance Process [open pdf - 947KB]
"On September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis walked into Building 197 of the Washington Navy Yard and murdered twelve people. Four more were injured. Alexis was granted access to the Navy Yard that morning because he worked for a small private company that held a subcontract with the Navy to update computer hardware at Navy facilities around the world. At the time, Alexis had worked for the company for a total of seven months. He was hired in large part because he held a Secret level security clearance. Before being killed by police during his murderous rampage, Alexis was one of roughly 4.9 million Americans-over 1.5 percent of our country's population-that hold security clearances, potentially granting them access to some of our nation's most confidential secrets and most secure facilities. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the federal government's clearinghouse for background investigations for security clearances for non-intelligence community personnel. When an agency wants to sponsor an individual for a security clearance, it relies primarily on OPM to conduct the background check on the individual. OPM then transmits its findings to the agency, which adjudicates the individual's clearance."
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: http://www.oversight.house.gov/